We are there every day–some of us are there dozens of times every day. Where? Sitting through yet another of those most annoying red lights.

Have you noticed how some are particularly long? I think there should be laws about that! No traffic light should be allowed to stay red for longer than…what? 30 seconds?? Maybe that’s a bit too short. But there should definitely be some regulation restricting the amount of agonizing time we are forced to sit there going nowhere. The worst is when no one else is going anywhere either and we all are just sitting there looking at each other and admiring (or not) the particular shade of cherry red that has us all held hostage.

So, what do you think about while you are sitting there–other than about how annoyed you are to have been once again detained? I have made some observations–some more interesting than others–that you might find worthy points to ponder the next time you are stuck in front of a red light and going nowhere.

First, and perhaps most annoyingly, is why is it that in some cities–like Atlanta–the lights on a particular street do not seem to be functioning in any kind of thought-out sequence? Or, if it is a thought-out sequence, what kind of perverse and alien logic prevailed to set it up that way? I’m speaking of this most maddening scenario where you have just sat through an excruciatingly long red light only to at last have been given the green go ahead.. So, there you are–free and free sailing at last–or so you think. What happens next? Whammo! One half block later-and what do you see, but another red light!! HOW is this possible? There you are, you’ve moved less than 500 feet and you are stuck again! This is a most aggravating point to ponder and therefore I don’t recommend spending much time on it.

Now let’s ponder some of the phenomena that I have consistently observed while being stuck. Do you ever wonder what in the world the people who are in the cars at the front of each lane of traffic are doing that none of them move when the light turns green? Are they so dazzled by the brilliance of the green color that they are temporarily dazed? Or are they asleep? Perhaps they’ve all been having tea and crumpets and having a grand old time up there in the first row? Or are they all on drugs? Whatever it is, it always astounds me to see the long-awaited green light from several cars back and what happens? Absolutely nothing. Nobody moves. Well, eventually someone moves–but just in time for the light to turn red again by the time I get up to it.

OK–next point. Why, when the light turns green-and often the entire line-up of drivers can see that it’s turned green–why doesn’t everyone start to move at the same time as the car at the head of the line. Why do we all sit there and wait for the car in front of us to get 2 blocks down the street before we start up ourselves? If we all started simultaneously with the front car, things would move ever so much more smoothly and efficiently–and all that many more of us would be getting through that light for that very brief time when it is actually green, Think about it.

Now–and here’s a sure-fire trick to make the light change more quickly–next time you encounter a red light, be prepared! I mean, have something TO DO next to you there on the seat. It could be almost anything-digging your sunglasses out of your bag or the glove compartment, consulting a street map, checking the weekend movie listings, going over your grocery shopping list, getting the toll money out of your change purse, checking your voice mails on your cell phone-anything! This is guaranteed to make the light turn green. It works best if what you are doing is of an urgent and pressing nature-something that has to be done right then. That hastens the light’s changing by several lifetimes. Just try it and you’ll see that I’m right.

And the last point to ponder–after you’ve run through all of the others–WHY is that irritatingly aggressive nutcase that passed you 4 blocks back going at three times the speed of sound, now sitting in the lane right next to you? Is there a law of physics to explain this? I don’t know what the answer is, but do think about it–it will keep you going the next time you are sitting still and seeing red.

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